The Las Vegas Raiders pass defense will be tested again in Week 8, this time against the Cleveland Browns who sit at 5-2.
Raider Nation by now is probably sick of hearing about the Raiders’ terrible pass defense. It has recently become the target of jokes, but there will be nothing funny if the team loses against the Browns. A loss would drop the Raiders below .500, yet, the playoffs could still be a possibility. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though, Paul Guenther’s defense has to generate some key stops already.
On the bright side, there are some positives heading into this matchup. To begin with, the Browns will be without Odell Beckham Jr, their star receiver. Before going down with an ACL tear, Beckham was totaling 319 receiving yards and three touchdowns off of 23 receptions. Another positive, the Raiders are getting safety Johnathan Abram back so the defensive backfield will be in better shape. This comes as timely relief given the performance that was put on by Jeff Heath and Erik Harris last week.
Who do the Raiders have to worry about in Week 8?
So without Beckham in the picture, who does Guenther and the Raiders need to scheme for tomorrow? By default, the Browns top receiver is Jarvis Landry who has 367 receiving yards and is averaging 12.7 yards per catch. Though he has yet to find the endzone, he’ll have a good chance against this pass defense. Unfortunately, Landry is battling hip and rib injuries, so he might be hobbled a bit. At this point, the Raiders will take any help they can get.
Then, there’s Browns tight end Austin Hooper who heads into this game with 22 receptions and a touchdown. In another twist of fate for the Raiders, Hooper, a two-time Pro Bowler, underwent an emergency appendectomy last Friday. It has since been confirmed he will not play versus the Raiders. This means the next two tight ends for the Browns, David Njoku and Harrison Bryant, will be the top tight ends. On a side note, those two have 19 receptions and five touchdowns between them.
It won’t be easy for this Raiders defense considering what we all have seen so far this season. And is if the backfield didn’t have enough to worry about, Guenther’s linebackers will have their hands full as well. Coming out of their offensive backfield, the Browns have running back, Kareem Hunt. The former Pro Bowler has 16 receptions with four touchdowns, can Guenther have everyone in positions to succeed? Well, we won’t hold our breaths but he will have to if the Raiders want to win.
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*Top Photo: Peter Joneleit/Associated Press